It was not too long ago that children were taught the value of police officers in their communities, and how they should be friendly toward them, respectful of their presence and the laws they enforced in communities. The police officers made every attempt to visit schools and teach children about “stranger danger” and basic things to do if a child is being bothered by someone with bad thoughts or actions toward their safety. Years of abuse of power through excessive force, prejudice, wrongful accusations, vice activity where police made illegal money, etc. have changed the eyes through which communities see the police officers that are sworn to protect and respect the citizen rights in their communities.
When did police brutality spin out of control as we see it today in so many headlines? Police brutality has been going on for generations in the United States where working-class whites were subject to discriminatory police activities in northern cities in the late 19th century, continuing in the 20th centuries when the immigrants came to the United States from southern and eastern European countries when communities were brutalized by police activities. Larger cities such as New York, and Chicago, with Italian, Irish, and Jewish organized crime were strong armed by police to crack down on illegal activities. In Los Angeles police officers looked the other way when Mexican Americans were attacked by U.S. Servicemen. The prejudicial activities of the police departments continued to seek out homosexuals, persons of color, questionable religious affiliations, and anyone who should have known better than to act outside the confines of the police-patrolled rule of law. Segregation movements fanned the flames of prejudice and the civil rights movement in the 1960s marked a dark time in U.S. history regarding inhumane treatment toward fellow men. Oddly enough, this was the same period of time where children were told to revere and trust the police officers in their communities. Fast forward to this date in history and the many abuses of people in uniform, and you have communities who teach their children to be afraid of police interaction as it will surely be a negative interaction, instead of years past where trust was paramount.
In Santa Rosa County Florida, two children were sexually abused at the hands of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent who had access to the safe space they were staying in at a residence for abused children. Police Brutality has many faces, and this is probably the ugliest, punishable by criminal and civil laws in the State of Florida. Sexual assault police brutality is often discussed regarding attacks on incarcerated persons in the prison systems, but there is a broader area of concern when a police officer is in the power position and individuals can be easily abused when it is their word against an officer of the law. Sexual abuse happens in broad daylight in the homes and neighborhoods where the same protectors of communities are the abusers.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Philip Stinson, a professor at Bowling Green State University and the principle investigator for a Department of Justice–funded research project on police integrity, about sexual assault by police officers. “There are many opportunities for someone, if they were a predator, to engage in crimes of sexual violence that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of the power and authority they have [as a police officer].” Cato Institute statistics report more than 9% of police misconduct in 2010 was sexual abuse reports of misconduct, second only to excessive force in policy brutality claims. In the Santa Rosa County Florida case, the charges brought against Officer McMullen were felony charges of which he was found guilty of 9 child sex offenses.
Identifying police brutality is the most important thing to keep you from becoming a victim. Violent assault, usually due to excessive force claims, has been the number one identified police brutality crime, and sexual assault is the second.
- Violent assault is committed by when excessive force is used by beating, hitting, kicking or striking of a person, causing lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries, disfigurement, brain or spinal cord damage and even death.
- Sexual assault occurs through physical contact with unwanted sexual advances, which can result in severe physical injury, emotional injury and behavioral changes that are long lasting, leading to a plethora of damages to recover. The definition of sexual assault is sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted on a person who cannot give consent due to age, physical or mental incapacity or who holds the assailant, such as a police officer, in a position of trust or authority.
Types of Police Brutality Besides Sexual Assault Include.
- Excessive Force – utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death.
- False Arrest and Wrongful Imprisonment – unlawful restraint of a person’s freedom of movement by another acting in perceived accordance with the law.
- Wrongful Search and Seizure Activity – protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures” notwithstanding probable cause enabling a search warrant.
- Racial and Gender Discrimination – bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties.
Under various federal and state laws, individuals who have suffered effects from police brutality or experienced police brutality can file a civil lawsuit. If you, or someone you know, has been sexually assaulted by a police officer, immediately contact a legal professional who might be able to help you manage your damages, and to see if you have a criminal and a civil case. Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through sexual assault.